April 15, 1924 – January 15, 2019
Mary Repin passed away peacefully with family at her side, on January 15, 2019, at the age of 94 years (just 3 months before her 95th birthday). She had been a resident at the Castleview Residential Care Home in Castlegar, since June 2018.
Mary Repin was born on April 15, 1924 to the family of Paul (Pavel) and Winnie (Vasyunia) Chernoff, in the village of Sovetnoe, in the Verigin District of Saskatchewan. Her Mother Vasyunia was from the Stupnikoff family. Mary was the fourth of five children, in the Chernoff family. Her siblings were: older brother George, older sister Anne, older brother Paul, and younger brother Peter.
The Family moved to British Columbia in 1929 and settled at “Bozhiya Dolina” in the west Grand Forks area. They lived there until such time that the parents were imprisoned on Piers Island for three years in the summer of 1932, due to a peaceful doukhobour protest. Mary was eight years old and along with other children of the imprisoned parents, was taken away by the authorities. She was assigned to a Foster Family along with three other girls, at Rosedale, near Chilliwack, BC. The foster family treated the girls very well, but of course being away from close family at that young age was not a pleasant experience.
The following year when children were being returned from custody back to the community, Mary was taken to stay with her Aunt and Uncle Tomilin, from Grand Forks. Mary complained that by this time she had completely forgotten how to speak Russian, and during their train trip back home had much difficulty communicating with her younger brother Peter, who spoke only Russian, and who had been assigned to an orphanage or school elsewhere. She eventually relearned how to speak Russian again, but seems to have had lost her strong Russian accent forever. Her Parents returned from Piers Island, and Mary continued her growing up years in the Village of Grand Forks and in the Gilpin Settlement. Mary had the opportunity to attend formal schooling up to grade 3, but continued to improve her reading skills by borrowing and reading all of her older brother Paul’s western/cowboy novels.
As with other young people of the area at the time, Mary would travel for work to the orchards of the Okanagan. This is where she met the love of her life Nick Repin. She often spoke of how at a gathering Nick asked her brother Peter: “Who is that girl over there?”; and Peter replied: “Oh, that’s just my sister”. Well, Nick followed up, they became acquainted, and after some time, on January 15, 1949, Nick and Mary were married. They settled to live in Thrums, BC. Nick and Mary were blessed with three children: daughter Irene and twins: daughter Verna, and son Mickey. In 1954 the family moved to Krestova.
Mary was always devoted to her family, was an excellent cook, spent long hours tending to their gardens; and perhaps her longevity was due to the hard work and good nutrition of the organic gardens.
Mary was predeceased by her:
Father Paul in 1962, Mother Winnie, in 1989, Brother Paul in 1998 (Paul’s wife Mary in 2017), Sister Anne Stroloff in 2004 (Anne’s husband Peter in 1995), Brother George in 2007 (George’s wife Bernice in 2000), Husband Nick in 2016; and Brother Peter in 2017.
Mary was the last surviving member of the siblings.
Mary is survived by:
Daughter Irene and husband Joe Sherstobitoff and family – Mahrusa (and her family), Natalia (and her family), and Ausay; Daughter Verna and husband Sid Malakoff and family – Tracy (and her family), Tanya, Nadya (and her family), and Faith; Son Mickey; Seven great grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews; and Sister in-law, Hazel Chernoff.
It is interesting to note that the day of Mary’s passing, January 15, 2019 would have been Mary and Nick’s 70th wedding anniversary; now they are together again.
Mary was able to live in her own home till September 2017, when at the age of 93, after a minor fall, she was admitted to Kootenay Lake Hospital. She then spent some time at Mountain Lakes Assisted Living Care Home in Nelson, briefly at Poplar Ridge Pavilion Care Facility in Trail, and finally in June 2018 she became a resident at Castleview Residential Care Home in Castlegar.
Funeral services were held on January 21, 2019 at Krestova Hall, followed by internment at the Krestova Cemetery.
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to:
The staff at the Care Facilities, Dr. McBride and staff at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson and Dr. Vasil in Castlegar for the care Mary received; the Home Support workers for their help from 2012 to 2017; the Castlegar Funeral Chapel; Sid Malakoff for officiating the Service; the Singers at the Service; the Krestova grave diggers at the cemetery; the casket bearers; the people who prepared the food for the meal at the Krestova Hall; as well as all the people who offered their condolences, prayers, and support during this time. Thank you also to family and friends who provided monetary gifts and flowers; the monetary gifts will be forwarded as a donation to Iskra publication in memory of Mary P. Repin.